The Maratha protestors on Wednesday have said that they will continue their scheduled statewide bandh on 9 August. This comes days after the Maharashtra chief minister Devendra Fadnavis announced that all constitutional obligations in connection with the granting of reservations to the Maratha community in the state would be completed by November.
“We will not back down from the protest until we get a written undertaking from the chief minister and the chief secretary that the quota would be implemented by November end,” said Raghunath Chitre Patil one of the convenors of the Maratha Kranti Morcha to Economic Times.
Vinod Pokharkar, a leader of the Maratha Kranti Morcha on Tuesday said, "The state government has not only failed to implement its promises made to the Maratha community before the 2014 assembly elections and in the last four years but also delayed the procedure of withdrawing police complaints filed against the Maratha youth across the state."
Pokharkar claimed that at least 2,000 youths from the community were arrested by the local police under serious charges in the state, following the agitations held last month.
"With the 9 August protest imminent, the state government ensured that hearing on the cases against the Maratha youth would take place after 9 August. This means that these youths will remain behind bars till Thursday," he alleged.
Pokharkar claimed that not a single police station in districts has received the state government's letter asking them to withdraw charges of non-serious nature against the arrested youths. Fadnavis had announced last month that the government would withdraw non-serious charges against the Maratha youths. Pokharkar alleged that Fadnavis seemed not keen to withdraw the cases.
Shantaram Kunjir, one of the coordinators told Free Press Journal that the Morcha leaders would be urging protestors to stay within the law as several cases have already been lodged against a number of agitators in the past weeks.
Another leader Bhaiyya Patil said meetings will be held Wednesday in some districts to chalk out the strategy for the August 9 protests.
"We will finalise the agitation plan in these meetings. We want to show the strength of the community to the government," Patil said.
The politically-influential Maratha community, constituting around 30 percent of Maharashtra's population, has been agitating to press their demand for reservation in jobs and education under the OBC category.
The agitation has kept Maharashtra on the edge, with several parts of the state witnessing protests from the community seeking 16 percent quota in government jobs and education. The spate of suicides spurred by the Maratha quota agitation rose to six on Tuesday as a labourer and a student ended their lives, while eight protesters attempted self-immolation.
In a related development, the Bombay High Court appealed to members of the Maratha community Tuesday to refrain from resorting to violence or committing suicide over their demand for reservation in government jobs and education.
With inputs from PTI
Updated Date: Aug 08, 2018 15:15 PM